Quote of the day: 8 February

APOSTOLIC PILGRIMAGE TO INDIA

BEATIFICATION
FATHER KURIAKOSE ELIAS CHAVARA

SISTER ALFONSA MUTTATHUPANDATHU

HOMILY OF SAINT JOHN PAUL II

Excerpts

Nahru Stadium of Kottayam
Saturday, 8 February 1986


“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to the little ones” (Mt 11:25).

What things has the Lord hidden? What mysteries has he revealed? Truly the deepest ones, the mysteries of his own divine life, those known here on earth only by him, only by Christ himself. For he says: “All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him”.

And behold, the Son does reveal these things. At the same time, he reveals the Father. The Father is revealed through the Son. And to whom does the Son reveal these things? He reveals them to those whom he chooses: “for such was your gracious will”, Jesus tells the Father. He reveals these things to the little ones.

 

Children having fun, Backwaters at Kottayam, Kerala
Children having fun, Backwaters at Kottayam | Saurabh Chatterjee / Flickr 

 

Today, in this Sacred Liturgy, we wish to unite ourselves in a special way with Christ the Lord. Together with him, we wish to bless the Father, for the particular love which he has shown to a son and daughter of the Church in India. We praise the Father for his countless blessings during the two thousand years that the Church has existed on Indian soil. With Christ, we glorify the Father for the love that he has shown to the little ones of Kerala and all India.

Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara was born here in Kerala, and for nearly all of his sixty-five years of earthly life he laboured generously for the renewal and enrichment of the Christian life. His deep love for Christ filled him with apostolic zeal and made him especially careful to promote the unity of the Church. With great generosity, he collaborated with others, especially brother priests and religious, in the work of salvation.

In co-operation with Fathers Thomas Palackal and Thomas Porukara, Father Kuriakose founded an Indian religious congregation for men, now known as the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. Later, with the help of an Italian missionary, Father Leopold Beccaro, he started an Indian religious congregation for women, the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel. These congregations grew and flourished, and religious vocations became better understood and appreciated. Through the common efforts of the members of new religious families, his hopes and works were multiplied many times over.

 

Backwaters at Kottayam, Kerala
Backwaters at Kottayam, Kerala | Saurabh Chatterjee / Flickr 

 

Father Kuriakose’s life, and the lives of these new religious, were dedicated to the service of the Syro-Malabar Church. Under his leadership or inspiration, a good number of apostolic initiatives were undertaken: the establishment of seminaries for the education and formation of the clergy, the introduction of annual retreats, a publishing house for Catholic works, a house to care for the destitute and dying, schools for general education and programmes for the training of catechumens. He contributed to the Syro-Malabar liturgy and spread devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Family. In particular, he dedicated himself to encouraging and counselling Christian families, convinced as he was of the fundamental role of the family in the life of society and the Church.

But no apostolic cause was dearer to the heart of this great man of faith than that of the unity and harmony within the Church. It was as if he had always before his mind the prayer of Jesus, on the night before his Sacrifice on the Cross: “That they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us”. Today the Church solemnly recalls with love and gratitude all his efforts to resist threats of disunity and to encourage the clergy and faithful to maintain unity with the See of Peter and the universal Church. His success in this, as in all his many undertakings, was undoubtedly due to the intense charity and prayer which characterised his daily life, his close communion with Christ and his love for the Church as the visible Body of Christ on earth.

Truly extraordinary is this day in the history of the Church and Christianity on Indian soil. It is important, too, in the history of the pastoral ministry of the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter. It is the first time that he has had the joy of raising to the glory of the altars a son and a daughter of the Church in India, in their native land.

 

Egret backwaters near Kottayam_22 Saurabh Chatterjee Flickr 5134285929
Egret flying over the backwaters at Kottayam | Saurabh Chatterjee / Flickr 

 

You can explore all of our blog posts about Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara here.

 

Photography by SaurabhChatterjee is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Quote of the day: 27 December

Discourse

His Holiness John Paul II

Speech to the Planning Commission
IV Centenary of St. John of the Cross
Friday, 16 November 1990


“Following your footprints”, as the mystic poet himself sings, he has followed his life’s journey in search of God, discovering his presence in creation and in creatures. Now, “following in his footprint”the footprint that John of the Cross has left in his writingsthe Church in Spain and, in particular, the people of Castile and León want to undertake a journey that may become an illuminated trail in personal and family life, in culture and in the witness of Christians in the midst of society.

John of the Cross, master in the faith, is also a guide on the pathways of life. His word, profound and thoughtful, suggests to men and women all the fullness of their dignity in the demanding task of approaching the mystery of existence, in the human fatigue of believing by overcoming the darkness, and in the integration of loving God and neighbor, since, as the Saint beautifully says, “After all, this love is the end for which we were created”.


The solemn canonization of Saint John of the Cross was held on 27 December 1726, decreed and celebrated by Pope Benedict XIII. He was raised to the altar together with St. Turibius of Mogrovejo, St. Francis Solano and St. Peregrine Laziosi of the Servite Order by the Papal Bull “Pia Mater Ecclesia”. (Source: Efemérides Carmelitanas)

 

 

Arnold_van_Westerhout_-_Portrait_of_John_of_the_Cross-1719
Blessed Father John of the Cross, Arnold van Westerhout engraving 1719 (Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

“A zaga de tu huella”, como canta el mismo poeta místico, él ha recorrido el camino de su vida a la búsqueda de Dios, descubriendo su presencia en la creación y en las criaturas. Ahora, “a zaga de su huella” —la que Juan de la Cruz ha dejado en sus escritos—, quieren la Iglesia en España y, en particular, las gentes de Castilla y León emprender un camino que sea estela luminosa en la vida personal y familiar, en la cultura y en el testimonio de los cristianos en medio de la sociedad.

Juan de la Cruz, maestro en la fe, es también guía en los senderos de la vida. Su palabra, honda y pausada, sugiere al hombre toda la plenitud de su dignidad en la ardua tarea de acercarse al misterio de la existencia, en la humana fatiga del creer superando la oscuridad, en la síntesis del amar a Dios y al prójimo, ya que, como hermosamente dice el Santo “Al fin, para este fin de amor fuimos creados”.


Solemne canonización de S. Juan de la Cruz, el día de 27 de diciembre de 1726, decretada y celebrada por el Papa Benedicto XIII; elevado a los altares juntamente con Sto. Toribio de Mogrovejo, S. Francisco Solano y Peregrino Gratiosi de los siervos de María, por la Bula papal “Pía Mater Ecclesia”.  (Fuente: Efemérides Carmelitanas)

 

 

This English translation of Saint John Paul's Spanish discourse is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

Quote of the day: 23 December

This year we also celebrated the fourth centenary of the death of another European saint, Saint John of the Cross. I wanted the event to be commemorated by sending a delegate of mine both at the beginning and at the end of the Jubilee celebrations in Spain, and with the apostolic letter Maestro en la fe.

The humble and austere figure of this Carmelite emanates with his writings, which are still very relevant today, a great light to penetrate the mystery of God and the mystery of man. He, who had a particular sense of divine transcendence, directs our gaze in the hour of the new evangelization.

Master in faith and theological life, John of the Cross inculcated in us the need to be purified by the Spirit of the Lord in order to carry out an incisive and effective apostolic activity. There is, in fact, a close connection between contemplation and commitment to the transformation of the world.

Aware of this, the Church has always attached special importance to the function of contemplative souls who, in recollection, prayer and hidden sacrifice, offer their lives to God for the salvation of their brothers and sisters. I hope that even today, there will be many people generously disposed to accept God’s call and to face – in the solitude of the Carmels and the various monasteries of contemplative life – the demanding and fascinating adventure of the exclusive search for dialogue with the one who is the source of all human existence.

Saint John Paul II

Christmas Greetings to the Roman Curia (excerpt)
23 December 1991

 

Juan de la Cruz (10) writing
Credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

 

This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

 

St. John of the Cross Novena — Day 4

The soul that walks in love neither tires others nor grows tired

Sayings of Light and Love, 97

 

SCRIPTURE

If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.

Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

Love does not come to an end.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

 

MEDITATION

“Love makes _____.”

How would you complete this sentence?

Our answers may give us clues as to how we understand love: God’s love, our love for God, and how love, in all its forms—filial, erotic, and caritative—is at work in our lives. In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul is talking about charity, or what some refer to as agape love (αγαπη).

And like a professor standing at a blackboard or whiteboard, Paul defines his term, including both what love is and what it is not. We can feel fairly certain that he is sketching some of the basic parameters of love… as St. John of the Cross might define it in his saying, an untiring love.

Now, nowhere in this passage of his first letter to the Corinthians is St. Paul scolding the Church for possessing a lack of love or a warped concept of love. The context of this chapter is an instruction on worship in the Corinthian church, and how any worship—no matter how glorious it may be—that lacks the spiritual gift of charity, i.e. love, is so much dust in the wind. Hence that famous verse that we so often hear at weddings: “Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away” (1 Cor 13:8)

It was in reading these chapters that St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus found her inspiration one day. “I opened the Epistles of St. Paul to find some kind of answer. Chapters 12 and 13 of the First Epistle to the Corinthians fell under my eyes… the Apostle explains how all the most PERFECT gifts are nothing without LOVE. That Charity is the EXCELLENT WAY that leads most surely to God” (Ms B, 3r-3v). Therefore, St. Paul urges the Corinthians, “make love your aim” (1 Cor 14:1).

St. John Paul II noted this inspired reading of First Corinthians in his 1997 Apostolic Letter Divini Amoris Scientia:

She discovered hidden treasures, appropriating words and episodes, sometimes with supernatural boldness, as when, in reading the texts of St Paul (cf. 1 Cor 12-13), she realized her vocation to love (cf. Ms B, 3r-3v). Enlightened by the revealed Word, Thérèse wrote brilliant pages on the unity between love of God and love of neighbor (cf. Ms C, 11v-19r).

St. Thérèse did not develop her mad love for God in a vacuum. Love was her aim from her youth, as she testified time and time again in her autobiographical manuscripts and letters. St. John Paul II explained the nature of her formation when he declared Thérèse to be a Doctor of the Universal Church:

Her doctrine, as was said, conforms to the Church’s teaching. From childhood, she was taught by her family to participate in prayer and liturgical worship. In preparation for her first Confession, first Communion and the sacrament of Confirmation, she gave evidence of an extraordinary love for the truths of the faith, and she learned the Catechism almost word for word (cf. Ms A, 37r-37v).

So what was this untiring love that St. Thérèse learned in her family? What did it look like? Who were her models?

When a Doctor of the Universal Church is born to a pair of Saints, one doesn’t have to look very far because ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’ In fact, one particular letter from her mother, Saint Zélie Guérin Martin to her father, Saint Louis Martin, provides us with an example of the untiring love that was taught by example in the Martin family home. Written during the summer of 1873 after the birth of Thérèse, Zélie takes Pauline and Marie with her to visit her brother and the Guérin family in Lisieux. Can you read untiring, selfless love in these lines?

Lisieux, August 31, 1873

My dear Louis,

We arrived yesterday afternoon at four-thirty. My brother was waiting for us at the station and was delighted to see us. He and his wife are doing everything they can to entertain us. This evening, Sunday, there’s a beautiful reception in their home in our honor. Tomorrow, Monday, we’re going to Trouville. Tuesday there will be a big dinner at the home of Madame Maudelonde and, perhaps, a drive to the country house of Madame Fournet. The children are thrilled and if the weather were good, they’d be ecstatic.

As for me, I’m finding it hard to relax! None of that interests me! I’m absolutely like the fish you pull out of the water. They’re no longer in their element and they have to perish! This would have the same effect on me if I had to stay a lot longer. I feel uncomfortable, I’m out of sorts. This is affecting me physically, and it’s almost making me sick. However, I’m reasoning with myself and trying to gain the upper hand. I’m with you in spirit all day, and I say to myself, “Now he must be doing such and such a thing.”

I’m longing to be near you, my dear Louis. I love you with all my heart, and I feel my affection so much more when you’re not here with me. It would be impossible for me to live apart from you.

This morning I attended three Masses. I went to the one at six o’clock, made my thanksgiving and said my prayers during the seven o’clock Mass, and returned for the high Mass.

My brother is not unhappy with his business. It’s going well enough.

Tell Léonie and Céline that I kiss them tenderly and will bring them a souvenir from Lisieux.

I’ll try to write you tomorrow, if possible, but I don’t know what time we’ll return from Trouville. I’m hurrying because they’re waiting for me to go visiting. We return Wednesday evening at seven-thirty. How long that seems to me!

I kiss you with all my love. The little girls want me to tell you that they’re very happy to have come to Lisieux and they send you big hugs.

Zélie

(Family Correspondence CF 108)

 

NOVENA PRAYER

O St. John of the Cross
You were endowed by our Lord with the spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
Obtain for us the grace to follow your example
that we may come to the eternal vision of the glory of God.

O Saint of Christ’s redeeming cross
the road of life is dark and long.
Teach us always to be resigned to God’s holy will
in all the circumstances of our lives
and grant us the special favor
which we now ask of you:

mention your request.

Above all, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance,
a holy and happy death and everlasting life with you
and all the saints in heaven.
Amen.

 

ancien eglise de Leucate Diocese de Carcasonne-Narbonne Joconde # 11W02069
Saint John of the Cross
17th c. French painting
Saints Pierre et Paul des Etangs (Leucate), Diocese of Carcasonne-Narbonne
Photo credit: Ministère de la Culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, diffusion RMN-GP

 

 

All Scripture references in this novena are found on the Bible Gateway website, with the exception of texts drawn from the 1968 Reader’s Edition of the Jerusalem Bible.

The novena prayer was composed from approved sources by Professor Michael Ogunu, a member of the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order in Nigeria.

The autobiographical manuscripts and family correspondence are found on the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux. The English version of the website appears here and the complete French version of the website is found here.

Quote of the day: 25 November

CEREMONY OF BEATIFICATION

JOSÉ MANYANET Y VIVES

DANIEL BROTTIER

ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY

HOMILY OF ST. JOHN PAUL II
excerpts

St. Peter’s Basilica
Sunday 25 November 1984

 

Almost a contemporary of Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Elizabeth of the Trinity had a profound experience of the presence of God, which she matured in a remarkable manner in just a few years of life in Carmel.

In her, we acknowledge a being who is filled with natural gifts: she was intelligent and sensitive, an accomplished pianist, appreciated by her friends, and delicate in the affection she bore toward her family. Here she blossomed in the silence of contemplation, beaming from the happiness of a total forgetfulness of self; without reserve, she welcomed the gift of God, the grace of baptism and reconciliation; she admirably received the eucharistic presence of Christ. To an exceptional degree, she is aware of the communion offered to every creature by the Lord.

Today we dare to introduce to the world this cloistered religious who led a “life hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3) because she is a witness who is bursting with the joy that is rooted and grounded in love (cf. Eph 3:17).

She celebrates the splendor of God because she knows that in her innermost self she is inhabited by the presence of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit in whom she recognizes the reality of love that is infinitely living.

Elizabeth herself also knew physical and moral suffering. United to Christ crucified, she offered herself totally, completing in her flesh the Passion of the Lord (cf. Col 1:24), always assured of being loved and of being able to love. In peace, she donates the gift of her wounded life.

To our disoriented humanity that no longer knows how to find God or that disfigures Him, that seeks out some word on which to build its hope, Elizabeth gives the witness of a perfect opening to the Word of God, which she assimilated to the point of truly making it the nourishment of her reflection and prayer, to the point of finding therein all her reasons to live and to consecrate herself to the praise of His glory.

And this contemplative, far from isolating herself, knew how to communicate the wealth of her mystical experience to her sisters and to those close to her. Her message spreads today with a prophetic power.

We call upon her: disciple of Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross, may she inspire and sustain all the family of Carmel; may she help many men and women, in the lay or consecrated life, to receive and share the “streams of infinity charity” that she collected “at the fountain of life” (Letter 191).

 

Beatification-banner large
Banner commissioned for the beatification of Elizabeth of the Trinity, 25 November 1984 | Credit: Discalced Carmelite Order (used by permission)

 

 

Read the full text of Saint John Paul II’s homily in French here and in Italian here.

 

Translations from the French are the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission. Dedicated to the Benedictines of the former St. Pius X Abbey at Pevely, Missouri sine qua non.

 

Quote of the day: 17 November

“Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord”. Carmelite life [for Raphael Kalinowski] began when he had already turned 42 years old. In the silence of recollection and contemplation another “movement” is hidden. The movement of which St. Paul speaks: “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14).

This “movement” of the human spirit, the movement that leads upwards, has its own particular intensity. The intensity of renunciation which is the source of singular creativity in the Holy Spirit. “I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord … in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him. . . I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings. . . Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”(Phil 3, 8.10.12).

Ordained a priest, Raphael Kalinowski set to work in the vineyard of Christ. He was appreciated as a confessor and spiritual director. He instructed souls in the sublime science of love for God, for Christ, for Our Lady, for the Church, and for others. He devoted many hours to this humble apostolate. Always recollected, always united with God, a man of prayer, obedient, always ready for renunciation, fasting, and mortification.

Saint John Paul II

Homily, Rite of Canonization (excerpts)
St. Raphael Kalinowski
Sunday, 17 November 1991

 

Rafael-Kalinowski_1897 (2)
Saint Raphael of St. Joseph Kalinowski, photo taken 30 March 1897 | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

Quote of the day: 13 November

Dear brothers and sisters, the beatification of Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified, which has gathered you here in Rome from all the countries of the Near East, has surely been for all of you a great moment of joy, a source of comfort, and an invitation to courage.

It’s not a moment of joy that comes and goes: it’s an open-ended source of grace. The Church in Rome has participated in this joy and, I dare say, the universal Church, looking with emotion at this little flower of the Holy Land, who has reached holiness in such a short time, which is the full flowering of mysticism.

I am happy to be with you once again this morning, to greet you again with all my affection, to converse with you like family, while still meditating on the meaning of this beatification, to gather its fruit. The life and virtues of Mariam Baouardy are now well known to you and I mentioned them in yesterday’s solemn liturgy.

But it is good to tell you again this morning how this “little Arab” has been a privileged witness of Jesus, of the love of the Church, and of action for peace. And you will understand even better the price that the Church attaches to the life of your Christian communities in the Holy Land and around the Holy Land.

Mariam is the fruit of this Holy Land. In her, everything speaks to us of Jesus. And first of all, the places where she lived: Nazareth, near which she was born; Bethlehem, where she consumed her sacrifice; and Mount Carmel, a symbol of the solitary prayer life that provided the setting for her religious life.

But above all, she brings us close to Calvary, since she has not ceased to carry in her life the cross of Jesus, in choosing her [religious] name “of Jesus Crucified”. The beatitudes find in her their fulfillment.

To see her, we believe that we’re hearing Jesus say to us: Blessed are the poor, Blessed are the humble, Blessed are those who seek only to serve, Blessed are the meek, Blessed are the peacemakers, Blessed are those who are persecuted. All her life expresses an unheard of familiarity with God, the fraternal love of others, and joy, which are evangelical indicators par excellence.

Saint John Paul II

Speech to Pilgrims for the Beatification
Sr. Mary of Jesus Crucified, Mariam Baouardy
13-14 November 1983

 

78
Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

Quote of the day: 9 November

May the Virgin of Carmel, whose statues overlook the rías that make up the beauty of this land of Galicia, always accompany you. May She be the star that guides you, the one that never disappears from your horizon. The one who leads you to God, to the safe harbor.

Saint John Paul II

Address to Maritime Workers
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
9 November 1982

 

NDMC_La_Virgen_del_Carmen_de_Monteferro_(14563339950)
The monument to the ‘Universal Navy’ at Monteferro, Nigrán in Spain—overlooking the Ría de Vigo—features a grand statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the patroness of the Spanish Navy. The Latin inscription, “Hail, Queen of the Seas” evokes the patronage of Our Lady over all sailors and maritime workers
Contando Estrelas / Wikimedia Commons

 

Quote of the day: 4 November

Celebration of the Word
in Honor of St. John of the Cross
Homily of St. John Paul II (excerpts)

 


Brothers and sisters: in my own words I wanted to pay a tribute of gratitude to Saint John of the Cross, theologian and mystic, poet and artist, a “heavenly and divine man”— as Saint Teresa of Jesus called him—a friend of the poor and a wise spiritual director of souls. He is the father and spiritual teacher of the entire Teresian Carmel, the forger of that living faith that shines in the most eminent children of Carmel: Thérèse of Lisieux, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Rafael Kalinowski, Edith Stein.

I ask the daughters of John of the Cross, the Discalced Carmelite nuns: may you know how to live the contemplative essence of that pure love that is eminently fruitful for the Church (cf. Spiritual Canticle, 29, 2-3). I recommend to his sons, the Discalced Carmelite friars, faithful guardians of this convent, who operate the Spirituality Center dedicated to the Saint, fidelity to his doctrine and dedication to the spiritual direction of souls, as well as to the study and deepening of spiritual theology.

For all the children of Spain and this noble land of Segovia, as a guarantee of ecclesial revitalization, I leave these beautiful slogans of Saint John of the Cross that have universal appeal: clairvoyance in intelligence to live the faith: “One human thought alone is worth more than the entire world, hence God alone is worthy of it.”(Sayings of light and love, 35). Courage in the will to exercise charity: “where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love” (Letter 26, to M. María de la Encarnación). A solid and enthusiastic faith, that constantly moves us truly to love God and man; because at the end of life, “when evening comes, you will be examined in love” (Sayings of light and love, 60).

 

Segovia_-_Convento_de_los_Carmelitas_Descalzos,_Capilla_de_San_Juan_de_la_Cruz,_Sepulcro_del_santo_1
Tomb of St. John of the Cross | Zarateman / Wikimedia Commons

 

Read the original text of Saint John Paul II’s homily here

This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

Quote of the day: 3 November

“But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them.” (Wisdom 3:1)

Yet, Titus Brandsma went through torment: he was punished in the eyes of men. Yes, God tried him. The former prisoners from concentration camps know very well what kind of human Calvary those places of punishment were.

Places of great human trial.

The test of physical strength, ruthlessly driven to complete annihilation.

The test of moral forces

Perhaps today’s Gospel speaks to us even better, recalling the commandment to love our enemies. The concentration camps were organized according to the program of contempt for man, according to the program of hatred. Through what a test of conscience, of character, of the heart a follower of Christ had to pass, who remembered Christ’s words about loving your enemies! Not responding to hatred with hatred but with love. This is perhaps one of the greatest tests of a man’s moral energies.

Titus Brandsma emerged victorious from this test. In the midst of the raging hatred, he knew how to love; everyone, even his torturers: “They, too, are children of the good God,” he said, “and perhaps something still remains within them…”

Certainly, such heroism cannot be improvised. Father Titus went on to develop it over the course of a lifetime, starting from the first experiences of childhood, lived in a deeply Christian family, in the beloved land of Frisia. From the words and examples of parents, from the teachings heard in the village church, from the charitable initiatives experienced within the parish community, he learned to know and to practice the fundamental commandment of Christ concerning love for everyone, not excluding even our own enemies. It was an experience that marked him in-depth, to the point of orienting his whole life.

The activities that Father Brandsma carried out during his existence were of a surprising multiplicity; but, if one wanted to look for the inspiring motive and the driving force, you would find it right here: in the commandment of the love taken to extremes.

Saint John Paul II

Homily, Mass for the Beatification of Titus Brandsma (excerpt)
3 November 1985, Vatican Basilica

 

Dachau gate P Fahr Flickr
payam_fahr / Flickr

 

 

This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

 

Vives con Cristo en la gloria: San Juan Pablo II en Alba de Tormes

Mis queridos hermanos y hermanas, hijos e hijas de Santa Teresa:

1. Nos hallamos congregados junto al sepulcro que guarda, como precioso tesoro, las insignes reliquias del cuerpo de Santa Teresa de Jesús.

Al clausurar solemnemente este IV centenario, abierto hace un año por el cardenal Enviado especial mío, quiero que mis palabras sean una evocación y una plegaria dirigida a Teresa de Jesús, presente entre nosotros en la comunión de los santos.

2. Ante todo, la evocación de aquella muerte gloriosa.

¡Teresa de Jesús! Quiero recordar las palabras de los últimos instantes de tu vida:

La humilde confesión de tus faltas: “Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies” (Ps. 50, 19).

La exhortación a tus hijas a mantener intacta tu herencia espiritual, la fidelidad al carisma.

El deseo de ver a Dios: “Señor mío, tiempo es ya que nos juntemos; ya es tiempo de caminar”.

La gozosa profesión de fe: “En fin, Señor, soy hija de la Iglesia”.

Entregaste tu vida al Señor, envuelta en el cariño maternal de esa Iglesia de la que te sentías hija: con la gracia del sacramento de la penitencia, el viático de la Eucaristía, la santa unción de los enfermos.

Fue la tuya una muerte de amor, como bien expresó San Juan de la Cruz: “Consumida por la llama de amor viva, se rompió la tela del dulce encuentro con Dios” (San Juan de la Cruz, Llama de amor viva, 1, 29-30).

“Ahora, pues, decimos que esta mariposica ya murió . . . y que vive en ella Cristo” (Santa Teresa, Castillo interior, VII, 1, 3).

3. Vives con Cristo en la gloria y estás presente en la Iglesia, caminando con ella por los senderos de los hombres.

En tus escritos plasmaste tu voz y tu alma. En tu familia religiosa perpetúas tu espíritu. Nos has dejado como lección la amistad con Cristo. Nos has legado como testamento el amor y servicio a la Iglesia. “¡Dichosas vidas – como la tuya – que en esto se acabaren!” (EIUSDEM, Vida, 40, 15.

Tu patria es España, pero todo el mundo es hoy tu hogar, donde habitan tus hijas y tus hijos, donde hablas desde las páginas de tus libros.

Eres mensajera de Cristo. Eres palabra universal de experiencia de Dios. Tu vivo lenguaje castellano ha sido traducido en muchos idiomas. Tus autógrafos se han multiplicado en ediciones sin fin. Has entrado en la cultura religiosa de la humanidad. Estás presente, honrando a la Iglesia, en la literatura universal.

¡Se han cumplido, Teresa, tus deseos de servir al Señor sin límites de tiempo ni de espacio, hasta el día de la venida gloriosa de Jesús!

4. Suba ahora hasta el Padre, por intercesión tuya, Teresa de Jesús, la ardiente plegaria del Papa peregrino.

Te pido por la Iglesia nuestra Madre: “No ande siempre en tanta tempestad esta nave de la Iglesia” (EIUSDEM, Camino de perfección, 35, 5).

Intercede por su extensión evangelizadora y por su santidad, por sus pastores, sus teólogos y ministros, por los hombres y mujeres que han consagrado a Cristo, por los fieles de la familia de Dios.

Te ruego por un mundo en paz, sin guerras fratricidas como las que herían tu corazón.

Descubre a todos los cristianos el mundo interior del alma, tesoro escondido dentro de nosotros, castillo luminoso de Dios. Haz que el mundo exterior conserve la huella del Creador y sea libro abierto que nos habla de Dios (Cfr. Santa Teresa, Vida, 9, 5).

Acoge mi súplica por las almas que alaban a Dios con sosiego, por los que han recibido la gran dignidad de ser amigos de Dios, por los que buscan a Dios en tinieblas, para que se les revele la Luz que es Cristo. (…)

5. ¡Teresa de Jesús, que sigues viviendo en esta tierra de España! Te pido por todos sus pueblos. Haz que vivan la riqueza de sus valores culturales en espíritu de fraterna y solidaria comunicación.

A ti que eres amiga de Dios y de los hombres, y con tus escritos abres caminos de unidad, te encomiendo la unidad de la Iglesia y de la familia humana: Entre los cristianos de diversas confesiones, entre miembros de diversas religiones, entre hombres de diferentes culturas. Que todos se sientan como tú los sentías: “hijos de Dios y hermanos” (Santa Teresa, Castillo interior, V, 2, 11).

Haz que se cumpla tu oración y tu palabra de esperanza, escrita en el Castillo interior (Ibid. VII, 2, 7-8).

“Orando una vez Jesucristo nuestro Señor por sus Apóstoles, dijo que fuesen una cosa con el Padre y con El, como Jesucristo nuestro Señor está en el Padre y el Padre en El (Cfr. Io. 17, 21).  ¡No sé qué mayor amor puede ser que éste! Y no dejaremos de entrar aquí todos, porque así dijo su Majestad: No sólo ruego por ellos, sino por todos aquellos que han de creer en mí también”. Haz que todos lleguemos donde tú llegaste: hasta la comunión con la Trinidad, “donde nuestra imagen está esculpida” (Santa Teresa, Castillo interior, VII, 2, 7-8).

¡Teresa de Jesús, escucha mi oración! Suba hasta el trono de la sabiduría de Dios la acción de gracias de la Iglesia, por lo que has sido y has hecho, por lo que todavía harás en el Pueblo de Dios que te honra como Doctora y Maestra espiritual. Quiero hacerlo con tus mismas palabras de alabanza y bendición:

“¡Sea Dios nuestro Señor por siempre alabado y bendito! Amén. Amén” (Ibid. 4).

San Juan Pablo II

Discurso del Papa San Juan Pablo II
en el acto de clausura del IV Centenario
de la muerte de Santa Teresa de Jesús
Alba de Tormes, lunes 1 de noviembre de 1982

 

1nov1982 AlbadeTormes
El papa San Juan Pablo II clausuraba en Alba de Tormes (Salamanca) los actos del cuarto centenario de la muerte de Santa Teresa de Jesús | Ricardo Martín / El País (Ver más)

Quote of the day: 1 November

Pilgrim in the footsteps of Saint Teresa of Jesus, with great satisfaction and joy I come to Avila. In this city there are so many Teresian places, such as the monastery of Saint Joseph, the first of the “dovecotes” founded by her; this monastery of the Incarnation, where Saint Teresa received the Carmelite habit, made her religious profession, had her decisive “conversion” and lived her experience of total consecration to Christ. It can well be said that this is the shrine of the contemplative life, place of great mystical experiences, and the focal point of monastic foundations.

To contemplate so many cloistered religious today, I cannot help but think about the great Spanish monastic tradition, its influence on Spanish culture, customs and life. Isn’t it here where the moral strength dwells, where there is a continuous reference to the spirit of the Spaniards?

The Pope calls you today to continue cultivating your consecrated life through a liturgical, biblical and spiritual renewal, following the guidelines of the Council. All this requires a permanent formation that enriches your spiritual life, giving it a solid doctrinal, theological and cultural foundation. In this way, you will be able to give the evangelical response that so many young people of our time expect, who today also approach your monasteries, attracted by a life of generous surrender to the Lord.

In this regard I want to issue a call to Christian communities and their Pastors, reminding them of the irreplaceable position occupied by the contemplative life in the Church. We all must deeply value and esteem the dedication of contemplative souls to prayer, praise, and sacrifice.

They are very necessary in the Church. They are living prophets and teachers for all; they are the vanguard of the Church on the way to the kingdom. Their attitude toward the realities of this world, which they contemplate according to the wisdom of the Spirit, enlightens us about the last things and makes us feel the gratuitousness of God’s saving love. I, therefore, urge everyone to try to foster vocations to monastic life among young women, in the assurance that these vocations will enrich the whole life of the Church.

Daughters of Carmel: May you be living images of your Mother Teresa, of her spirituality and her humanism. May you truly be as she was and wanted to be calledand as I wish her to be calledTeresa of Jesus.

Saint John Paul II

Meeting with Cloistered Nuns (excerpts)
Carmel of the Incarnation, Ávila
1 November 1982

 

 

1982 Nuns at the Encarncion Avila to see JP2 1nov82 ElPais
Roughly 3000 cloistered nuns representing approximately 15,000 contemplative religious gathered at the Carmel of the Incarnation in Ávila on All Saints Day, where they awaited the Holy Father Pope St. John Paul II. Having spent the entire night outside the monastery in a prayer vigil, they were overjoyed at the sight of his helicopter when it arrived. For some, this was the first time they had left their cloisters in decades. | Ricardo Martín / El País (See more)

 

 

This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

Timbre de gloria

Hoy me trae a vosotros la clausura —en vez de la apertura— del IV centenario de la muerte de Santa Teresa de Jesús, esa gran santa española y universal, cuyo mayor timbre de gloria fue ser siempre hija de la Iglesia y que tanto ha contribuido al bien de la misma Iglesia en estos cuatrocientos años.

San Juan Pablo II

Discurso, Ceremonia de Bienvenida
Aeropuerto Internacional de Madrid-Barajas
Domingo 31 de octubre de 1982

 

 

Teresa-Avila_1982-centenary_Spanish-postage-stamp
IV Centenario de la muerte de Santa Teresa, sello conmemorativo con timbre postal de Madrid

Quote of the day: 31 October

Today brings me to the closing — instead of the opening — of the IV centenary of the death of Saint Teresa of Jesus, that great Spanish and universal saint, whose greatest stamp of glory was to be forever the daughter of the Church, who has contributed so much to the good of the same Church in these four hundred years.

Saint John Paul II

Welcome Ceremony, Madrid Airport
31 October 1981

 

31oct1982 Madrid airport welcome
Marisa Flórez / El País (See more)

 

Quote of the day: 29 October

Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
of the Holy Father John Paul II

VITA CONSECRATA

On the consecrated life and its mission in the Church and in the world


The prophetic character of the consecrated life

 

84. The prophetic character of the consecrated life was strongly emphasized by the Synod Fathers. It takes the shape of a special form of sharing in Christ’s prophetic office, which the Holy Spirit communicates to the whole People of God. There is a prophetic dimension which belongs to the consecrated life as such, resulting from the radical nature of the following of Christ and of the subsequent dedication to the mission characteristic of the consecrated life.

The sign value, which the Second Vatican Council acknowledges in the consecrated life, is expressed in prophetic witness to the primacy which God and the truths of the Gospel have in the Christian life. Because of this pre-eminence, nothing can come before personal love of Christ and of the poor in whom he lives.

The Patristic tradition has seen a model of monastic religious life in Elijah, courageous prophet and friend of God. He lived in God’s presence and contemplated his passing by in silence; he interceded for the people and boldly announced God’s will; he defended God’s sovereignty and came to the defense of the poor against the powerful of the world (cf. 1 Kg 18-19).

In the history of the Church, alongside other Christians, there have been men and women consecrated to God who, through a special gift of the Holy Spirit, have carried out a genuinely prophetic ministry, speaking in the name of God to all, even to the Pastors of the Church.

True prophecy is born of God, from friendship with him, from attentive listening to his word in the different circumstances of history. Prophets feel in their hearts a burning desire for the holiness of God and, having heard his word in the dialogue of prayer, they proclaim that word with their lives, with their lips and with their actions, becoming people who speak for God against evil and sin.

Prophetic witness requires the constant and passionate search for God’s will, for self-giving, for unfailing communion in the Church, for the practice of spiritual discernment and love of the truth. It is also expressed through the denunciation of all that is contrary to the divine will and through the exploration of new ways to apply the Gospel in history, in expectation of the coming of God’s Kingdom.

 

Extraordinary Definitory India February 2015
Discalced Carmelite Friars from Spain, Lebanon, and India gather at the Extraordinary Definitory Meeting in India, February 2019 | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelite General Curia (Used by permission)

 


Father Jesús Castellano Cervera, O.C.D. was one of the group of religious who served as experts and auditors at the 1994 Ninth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that convened in Rome from 2 – 29 October 1994. The topic of discussion among the synod members was “The Consecrated Life and Its Role in the Church and in the World”.

In 1995 at the international Encuentro for the Familia Teresiana of Saint Enrique de Ossó, Father Jesús Castellano shared a few of his impressions of the 1994 Synod from the Carmelite perspective. We are grateful to Father Iván de Jesús Mora Pernía, O.C.D. for transcribing Father Castellano’s remarks so that we might share them with our readers. The Spanish translation is our own.

We were able to note from within the Synod the presence of Carmel in the Church through the resonance of our figures who frequently were called exemplary witnesses and models of consecrated life in history. Thérèse of Lisieux was in first place among our most remembered saints. There were those who officially requested in the synod hall that she should be declared a Doctor of the Church. Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross and other saints of ours were named very frequently. From the patriarchs of the Eastern Churches came a word of thanks for the history of Carmel in their Churches and for the patient presence that is still alive in the regions of the Middle East such as Iraq, Lebanon,  and Egypt. The Secretary-General of the Synod at the end had a very special memory for St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, “that woman who has been an excellent witness of consecrated life in the mission of the Church” and made her famous texts resonate in the Synod hall: “In the heart of the Church I will be love”. John Paul II in the final homily of the Synod wanted to remember how our three best-known saints are present in the history of the holiness of the Church written by the religious: Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross at the time of the Protestant Reformation, and Thérèse of Lisieux, closest to us.

Quote of the day: 22 October

The presence of God and of Christ, a renewing purification under the guidance of the Spirit, and the living of an informed and adult faith—is this not in reality the heart of the teaching of St. John of the Cross and his message for the Church and for men and women of today? Unless we renew our faith and brighten its flame, we will not be able to face any of the great tasks which face the Church. Only faith enables us to experience the salvific presence of God in Christ in the very center of life and of history. Faith alone reveals to us the meaning of the human condition and our supreme dignity as sons and daughters of God who are called to communion with Him. Faith is the heartbeat of the new evangelization, for it re-evangelizes believers and opens them more and more to the teachings and light of Christ.

Saint John Paul II

Master in the Faith
Apostolic Letter for the IV Centenary of the Death of St. John of the Cross
14 December 1990

 

JP2 Cali Colombia Jul 4-5 1986 Hernan Valencia Flickr 2595523261_94ac7ca31c_o
Cali, Colombia, 4-5 July 1986 | Hernan Valencia / Flickr

Quote of the day: 15 October

But what disorder in the way I write! Really, it’s as though the work were done by one who doesn’t know what she’s doing. The fault is yours, Sisters, because you are the ones who ordered me to write this. Read it as best you can, for I am writing it as best I can. And if you find that it is all wrong, burn it. Time is necessary to do the work well, and I have so little as you see, for eight days must have gone by in which I haven’t written anything. So I forget what I have said and also what I was going to say. Now it is wrong for me to ask you to avoid doing what I have just finished doing, that is, making excuses. For I see that not making excuses for oneself is a habit characteristic of high perfection, and very meritorious; it gives great edification. And although I have often taught it to you, and by God’s goodness you practice it, His Majesty has never given it to me.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Way of Perfection, Chap. 15

 

 

inaguración por Juan Pablo II-1
Saint John Paul II blessed the monument of St. Teresa next to the Gate of Alcazar during his visit to Avila for the closing of the fourth centenary jubilee year of her death, 1 November 1982. During his homily at the Mass, he said, “I have come here today to Avila to adore the Wisdom of God.” | Photo credit: Teresa de la rueca a la pluma

 

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 25 September

Josefa_Naval_Girbés,_Leiga_e_Terciária_Carmelita_Descalça
Josefa Naval Girbés | Image credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

The Church intones a canticle of jubilation and praise to Christ for the beatification of Josefa Naval Girbés, a virgin, and a laywoman who dedicated her life to the apostolate in her native village Algemesi in the archdiocese of Valencia, Spain. A simple woman who was docile to the breath of the Spirit, throughout the course of her long life she reached the summit of Christian perfection, dedicated to the service of her neighbor, in times that were easy for no one in the 19th century, during which she lived and developed her intense apostolic activity…

A singular characteristic of Josefa was her secular status. She, who filled cloistered convents with her disciples, remained unmarried in the world, living the evangelical principles and being an example of Christian virtues for all those sons and daughters of the Church who “are by baptism made one body with Christ and… carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world” (Lumen Gentium, 31).

Saint John Paul II

Homily for the Beatification of Six Servants of God
Saint Peter’s Square, 25 September 1988

Quote of the day: 23 September

Your “sequela Christi”, as consecrated persons, thus acquires biblical and historical connotations, which make it particularly alive and up-to-date. I hope, dearly beloved, that the intense work your general chapter these days will favor an in-depth reflection on how to implement your specific charism on the threshold of the third millennium. This will lead you to continue with renewed enthusiasm in the witness of spirituality offered by you in the context of the present age, deeply in need of God but too often lost along the difficult paths of history.

Saint John Paul II
Address to the Carmelite General Chapter (excerpt)
23 September 1995

 

unpaved road with sunlight through the trees
Photo by Aaron Burden on Pexels.com

Quote of the day: 12 August

You were a man of heroic faith, Isidore Bakanja, a young layman from the Congo. As a baptized person called to spread the Good News, you knew how to share your faith and bore witness to Christ with so much conviction that, to your companions, you appeared to be one of those valiant lay faithful who are catechists. Yes, Blessed Isidore, completely faithful to the promises of your baptism, you really were a catechist, you worked generously for “the Church in Africa and its evangelizing mission”.

Isidore, your participation in the paschal mystery of Christ, in the supreme work of his love, was total. Because you wanted to remain faithful at all costs to the faith of your baptism, you suffered scourging like your Master. You forgave your persecutors like your Master on the Cross and you showed yourself to be a peacemaker and reconciler.

In an Africa painfully tested by struggles between ethnic groups, your luminous example is an invitation to harmony and to the rapprochement between the children of the same heavenly Father. You practiced fraternal charity towards all, without distinction of race or social condition; you earned the esteem and respect of your companions, many of whom were not Christians. In this way, you show us the path of dialogue necessary among men.

In this Advent of preparation for the third millennium, you invite us to accept, following your example, the gift that Jesus made of his own Mother on the Cross (cf. Jn 19:27). Dressed in the “habit of Mary”, like her and with her, you continued your pilgrimage of faith; like Jesus the Good Shepherd, you came to give your life for your sheep. Help us who have to walk the same path to turn our eyes toward Mary and take her as a guide.

Saint John Paul II
Homily, 24 April 1994
Eucharistic Concelebration for the Beatification of Isidore Bakanja


Isidore Bakanja worked as an assistant mason for white colonists in what was then the Belgian Congo and now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was a convert, baptized 6 May 1906 at age 18 after receiving instruction from Trappist missionaries. Rosary in hand, he used any chance to share his faith; though untrained, many thought of him as a catechist. He left his native village because there were no fellow Christians.

He found work as a domestic on a Belgian rubber plantation. Many of the Belgian agents were atheists who hated missionaries due to their fight for native rights and justice; the agents used the term “mon père”the formal term used to address a priestfor anyone associated with religion.

Isidore encountered their hatred when he asked for leave to go home. The agents refused, and he was ordered to stop teaching fellow workers how to pray: “You’ll have the whole village praying and no one will work!”

He was told to discard his Carmelite scapular, and when he didn’t, he was flogged twice. The second time the agent tore the scapular from Isidore’s neck, had him pinned to the ground, and then beaten with over 100 blows with a whip of elephant hide with nails on the end. He was then chained to a single spot 24 hours a day.

When an inspector came to the plantation, Isidore was sent to another village. He managed to hide in the forest, then dragged himself to the inspector. This was the inspector’s report:

“I saw a man come from the forest with his back torn apart by deep, festering, malodorous wounds, covered with filth, assaulted by flies. He leaned on two sticks in order to get near me – he wasn’t walking; he was dragging himself”.

The agent tried to kill “that animal of mon père”, but the inspector prevented him. He took Isidore home to heal, but Isidore knew better.

“If you see my mother, or if you go to the judge, or if you meet a priest, tell them that I am dying because I am a Christian.”

Two missionaries who spent several days with him reported that he devoutly received the last sacraments. The missionaries urged Isidore to forgive the agent; he assured them that he already had.

“I shall pray for him.
When I am in heaven,
I shall pray for him very much.”

After six months of prayer and suffering, he died, rosary in hand and scapular around his neck. [Source: ocarm.org]

 

Hans Beeckman, Royal Museum for Central Africa wood biology expert, in Yangambi - DRC.
Hans Beeckman, Royal Museum for Central Africa wood biology expert, in Yangambi – Democratic Republic of the Congo | Photo by Axel Fassio/CIFOR | cifor / Flickr | Learn more about forest conservation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the work of CIFOR, the Center for International Forestry Research at cifor.org

 

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